Hesaves Productions

Welcome to Hesaves Productions, the official place to find the musings, rantings and works of fiction by Jonathan Moy.  Please come back soon as exciting things are on their way.

Despicable Me

If you’ve known me well enough, you’ll know that for years, I’ve ranted about Disney princesses and the idea of princesses all together.  The concept that you are special because of who you are, not necessarily what you’ve done, is a very British one instead of an American one.  No matter what’s going on in life, it’s okay because your Prince Charming or fairy godmother will come to rescue you.  You will be called into the life you were always meant to live.  It’s such a despicable idea that gives girls false hope as they expect things to go their way because they are unique.  I’ve always been more of a “you have to work for what you get” person – we should teach our youth that what you do, not who you are, will take you where you need to be through gritty self-determination and good ol’ fashion elbow grease.

I think the joke is on me because I think I’m that little girl hoping, waiting, wishing to be a princess.  Poor despicable me.  I’ve come to the realization that indeed, I find myself wishing for fairytales.  The people that I idolize will come to recognize who I am and value me for that, not for being a fan.  That some Prince Charming will swoop down and save Cinderella-me from my life of monotony, realizing that though I am poor in resources, people and self-marketing and self-worth – my writing is worth something – that it’s not just some schlock that just anyone can write.

Instead, the people I idolize don’t know me from jack --- but why should they?  Instead, perhaps I don’t have the gritty self-determination that I need in order to make it by writing.  I’m too easily discouraged and take a long time to recover from the knockdowns.  Perhaps I even have too many romantic notions of how I’m going to meet the love of my life, and instead, I let them all by, unaware and always too late when it comes to true realization.  Poor despicable me.

Of course, if I were to complain about all these circumstances and say it’s unfair – you could rightly call me “emo” as has been accused of previously.  However, this is a lament, not a complaint.  I observe (because that is what I do—observe and not participate) that much, if not all of this, is my fault.  What will blaming others accomplish?  I am the awkward one that puts people at arm’s length because it’s hard for me to let others see me as vulnerable.  I’m the one with all the expectations for my friends that they cannot live up to because life goes on, and they have their lives to live while I stay back here alone.  I’m the one who puts all these barriers up because I don’t want to be hurt in the way my imagination foresees.  I’m the one who believes in fairy tales even while knowing that they don’t come true.  Despicable me.

Perhaps fortunately, a great man once told his son, “Why do we fall, Bruce?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”  Despite all this darkness, despite all the hurt, there has to be hope, right?  The question is “what do we hope in?”  Do we hope in some karmic forces that say that eventually something good must happen?  Do we hope in fallible people who despite their great intentions, cannot possible live up to all the promises they make or we perceive in them?  Do we hope in ourselves – our fragile and fickle selves that will often just deceive us into thinking things are okay?  There are so many places we can draw our hope from – most of them a false trap door that drops into a Star Wars-esque trash compactor that will crush our dreams.  Each of us must determine if the object in which we hope in is worthy of that hope. 

So perhaps the question you have is “What do you, author, hope in?”  I know what I’ve described is very dark, and it’s something I live with on a daily basis.  So what does this author who hates happy songs and loves the sad songs hope in?  What does he who smiles knowingly at the bald optimism of others hope in?  I hope in the one who had a plan for a twenty year slave named Joseph.  Despite all the injustices he endured, he was able to save his family from a famine and forgive his brothers.  I hope in the one who provided a church for my congregation after twenty years of looking and several almost and heartbreaks.  I hope in the one who saved my life fourteen years ago when I was in the ICU for three months.  I hope in the one who has saved countless many of my friends who almost died as well or almost lost their eyesight.  I will hope in the one who has made promises in the Bible that He has a plan for those who love and trust Him.  That is the only hope that can assuage the darkness in me—the aloneness in me – the failure in me.  I’m not perfect – far from it – but I have hope, and that’s the only thing that can carry me when I’m in the throes of a despicable me.  Maybe I'm not special.  Maybe I will never achieve the successes that I want in my writing.  It doesn't matter because I'm going to pick myself up.  I have to.  I have to fight.  Even if I might not win in the way I want, I fight.  Why do you pick yourself up?  What is the hope you have?


Short Story - Job on Love: Part 2

Here's the second and final part of that sad, sad short story I started last week.  Let me know what you thought about this writing experiment.

“I’m sorry for what you are feeling, Job.  That can’t be easy,” I finally reply after some time.

“Is that all you have to say, Mike?  Really?”  His tone and folded arms tell me where he now points all the frustration he’s feeling.

“What do you think I’m going to tell you?”  I retrieve the ball and dribble it slowly behind my back and between my legs, mostly to spark muscle memory long forgotten.

“I don’t know,” Job says, shoving his hands in his pocket with a grimace of concentration.  “Probably that I’m being too sensitive about it, and that I should just let it go.  That I’m playing the world’s tiniest violin.  That I should be patient because there’s a person out there for me, and I just need to be ready for that opportunity.”

“This hypothetical me sounds rather wise,” I say with a smile.  “Or perhaps a bit cliché.  Still, let me ask you a question, Job.  Can you blame happy people for being happy?”

At that, he let out a little laugh.  “I suppose not, but why do they have to share that happiness in a weaponized form?”

“That’s what people do.  They like to spread their happiness to others, and in a way, other people share in it vicariously.  It’s the unflagging spring eternal that allows love and joy to be spread.  Except when it comes to an unblessed few, I assume.  You being the forefront of that group.

In no way am I trying to say that you aren’t justified in feeling the way you do, but this is how most people react.  When they are sad, they want to watch something happy to make them feel better.”  I take a free throw shot and for the first time tonight, it’s a swish. 

“I guess I’m not most people then, Mike,” he says as he retrieves the ball and passes it to me.

“Amen to that, Job,” I say with a grin, hoping to inject a little levity into the mood.  “But what can you do?  You can’t make people go against the nature that is the normal experience.  What’s going to matter is your response.  So what if their Facebook posts heighten the insecurity you feel.  You cannot let that get you down for long.  That is an obstacle you have to overcome.  Something you have to struggle through.”  The next ten-footer I take clanks off the rim, and Job takes the rebound out to the circle for his own shot.

“You make it sound so easy, Mike.  It’s not,” he says as he takes a fifteen-foot jump shot and buries it.  I throw a hard chest pass that hits him in the hands.  Another shot, and another make.  “It truly feels like a kick to the chest.”

“You might not be able to avoid that hurt, but you can certainly avoid what comes afterwards.  The frustration, anger and helplessness.  Those are obstacles that demand you give up or become complacent.  That pain defines you right now, but it doesn’t have to always define.  Instead, let it be the impetus to something greater … motivation for forward action.  The circumstances are the circumstances.  That doesn’t mean you have to let them rule you.”

“That sounds like a ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ speech, Mike.”

“I suppose it does, but this is the truth of the matter.  Everything happens for a reason.  Every good thing, every bad thing has the opportunity to make you stronger, not weaker.  That choice is yours.  That challenge is yours.  Don’t let Facebook defeat you.  Don’t let Valentine’s Day be your master.  You be their master.”

Job takes a three point shot and banks it in.  I give a groan to mark my displeasure at the sloppy shot.  “You are not beaten, by any stretch of the imagination.  Sure, knocked down or pushed around, but not defeated, Job.  This is just a speed bump,” I tell him as I feed him the ball for another shot that swishes perfectly.

Job gives me a reluctant smile, but it’s a smile that I feel good about.  Perhaps I did not change his mind, but there’s hope in his eyes.  That’s all I want to see right now.

“I can’t magically cast a spell and make you any happier about Valentine’s Day, but Job, you fight.  You fight and fight and fight and fight.  You hear me, Job?  Fight.”  I extend my fist even though it’s not really a gesture I totally like or approve of, but he gives me a fist bump.  I take it as a social contract that he will not let loneliness or despair prevail.  Or that Valentine’s Day will conquer him.

“I promise, Mike,” he says.  “But you have to make a promise to me as well.”

“Oh, what’s that?”

“We are about to go one-on-one again, and I want to see you fight,” Job says with a chuckle.

“You bet.”  I check the ball to him.  "Take your best shot."


Short Story - Job on Love: Part 1

So I decided to write a short story about Valentine's Day, and it starts out a little dark.  So before you call me to make sure I'm okay, just know that the first act here is in the similar format of Job 3 and his lament.  I'm okay, but Job isn't.  Part 2 will be up next week with more of a Elihu response.  All is well ... relatively.


Usually when Job tells me he wants to shoot hoops, generally it means one of two things.  Either intramural basketball season is coming and he wants to get into ball shape, or he needed to talk about something.  Considering it’s a cold February night, I assume it was the latter.  I tell him I’ll meet him at Banner Park at 7 since I know the lights would stay on until 9. 

After putting on a couple layers to keep the cold out, I get to the park a few minutes earlier and begin to stretch out.  I hate to admit it, but I’m getting older now and those types of old-man activities have now become a part of my pre-game routine.  Job doesn’t show up until 7:10, and by then, I’ve already started to take a few jump shots to keep warm mostly. 

“Hey, Job,” I say, clanking a fifteen footer.  Rusty?  It’s more like antique.  He gives me a curt nod and begins to shoot without stretching out or saying anything more.  It is at this point that I realize that whatever it is, it’s not good.

Not wanting to push the issue quite yet, we continue to shoot in silence for about 10 minutes, taking a considerable amount of time to chase down errant shots because it’s been few months for both of us since we last played in the intramural championship.  Occasionally I glance in his direction after a shot, and the scowl that drapes his face tells me quite a lot.  Finally, I offer to play some one-on-one, and noisily Job nods his assent.

After some sloppy play, the score’s 6-5, and he picks my pocket, hop steps behind the circle and launches a three that clangs off every part of the rim before rolling into the basket.  “I’m warming up,” he says with the first smile of the night.  By game’s end, he beats me 13-11, and I beg him to let me rest for a second.  No doubt seeing my wheezing, Job sits down on first row of some nearby bleachers and takes a drink from his water bottle and cradles it in his hands with a sad look on his face. 

“What’s wrong, Job?” I ask, hoping that he’s now in the mood to chat after beating me.  I sit down a few feet from him to rest my aching calves.

“I don’t know, Mike.  It’s stupid.  I’m sorry that I called you out here.  It was impulsive.”

“Well, I’m here already, and I imagine it’s good for me.  Been too long since we played ball, and as you can see, I’m ice cold.”  He looks up at me with a second smile, but soon it’s replaced with a frown once more.  “But it can’t be nothing, Job.  Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.”

“You’re right,” he says as he stands up to pick up his basketball and seems to gaze at it like poor Yorick.  “Do you know what day Friday is?”

“Of course.  Friday’s Valentine’s Day.”

“Yes, Valentine’s Day, Mike.”  Job began to dribble the ball.  “I wish it wasn’t.”

“A lot of Valentine’s Days have come, and they haven’t bothered you before.  What’s changed?”

“I don’t know, Mike.  Everything.  I realize that I’ve suffered through enough of them as a single that I should not have this reaction, but here I am.  Maybe it was all those jewelry and flowers commercials.  Maybe it was that stupid sappy movie that’s coming out written by what’s his face.  Maybe it’s all the chocolate strawberry ads or just social media.  I don’t know if I can stand another person wishing their wife or girlfriend or husband or boyfriend Happy Valentine’s Day or sharing about what their spouse did for them.  It’s everywhere, and it’s maddening, Mike.”

“I’m sorry, Job.  If it’s my post on Facebook to my wife that drove you to this place …”

“It’s not you.  Well, it’s not just you.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I feel like crap because everyone else is celebrating something I don’t have.  I realize that my singleness is my choice or my fault, but I don’t like being punched in the gut every single time I’m reminded of that fact.  Usually I’m okay with it … you know I am … but right now, it’s just too much.  I feel like I’m the piñata, and Facebook and Twitter are the baseball bats absolutely going to town on me.

It’s funny too … the whole notion of Valentine’s Day.  If it weren’t for Chaucer, it would just be some Catholic holiday that no one cares about, but nope, let’s spout some stuff about courtly love until it gets mutated into some commercial mobster-racket for chocolate makers, jewelry stores and florists.  What does some martyr have to do with Cupid and candy?  Nothing, and yet here we are in the 21st Century, celebrating a monstrosity that has absolutely no bearing on the original meaning.”

Job starts to dribble his ball harder, and from the flustered look on his face, I know he has more to say.  He begins shooting jump shots, except that each shot is flat and caroms hard off the rim.  I follow him onto the court and just listen.

“You know, I never realized how much of a curse being single is.  I mean, I don’t really mean being alone, but just the constant reminders that you are single.  All the E-Harmony or Christian Mingle ads.  All the other less reputable ads about meeting singles in your area.  It’s like I have a digital Scarlet A, but instead of Adultery, it’s just Alone.  Perhaps I should just change my Facebook status to nothing instead of single.”  His jump shots start looking more like dodge ball throws against the backboard now.

“I don’t want to feel this turmoil, Mike.  Like I’m incomplete or irreparably broken.  I know that I’m not, but that how all of this makes me feel.  Valentine’s Day preys on every insecurity and fear I have about myself.  It tells me that the grass is greener on the other side and then punches me in the face.  I’m uneasy with this feeling.  I cannot rest with this disquiet upon my chest.

I don’t want to be that guy that pooh poohs everything and shakes my fist at the world, but I can’t sort this.  I can’t bury my head in the sand because it’s everywhere.  I don’t even want to be that guy to just ask out any girl just so that I don’t have be alone on Valentine’s Day because that’s desperate and insincere.  I don’t even want to go to some Anti-Valentine’s party to prove I’m a rebel that doesn’t care about anything because it’s not true.  I’m uneasy.”  With that, he took one last shot that airballs and pathetically bounces on the ground until resting against the chain link fence. “I’m uneasy.”


When It's Okay Not to be Estatic About a Super Bowl Win

I'm going to admit, as much as I enjoyed watching the Seahawks win Super Bowl 48, I wasn't quite as emotional and giddy as when the Giants beat the Patriots six years ago, mostly predicated on this play.  On that Super Bowl day, I remember my brother and I tackling each other in euphoria because of that win over the then 18-0 Patriots.  Even in the NFC championship game when Sherman tips the ball away from Crabtree, there was a rush of emotions that simply was not there last Sunday.  Of course the fact that the game was never in doubt takes away from the excitement of a victory in the making. 

So the question is -- what does that say of me that I wasn't hooting and hollering over the Seahawks' first ever championship win?  However, before we get there, a short history of my sports fandom to put the question into context.

I was born in New York and lived in New Jersey for the first thirteen years of my life, and those were the formulative years of my sports passions.  The Giants in the 80s were my team as were the terrible Yankees.  I lived in Orlando for more than three years, and that was where I gained my passion for the Magic.  When I moved to Seattle when I was 16, I gained an appreciation for the teams here -- the Mariners, the Seahawks and the Sonics, but they never really impressed me that much simply because they were not my teams I first fell in love with.  Eventually, I learned that I hated baseball, and the Sonics were stolen from Seattle.  That really only left the Seahawks, and I grew to appreciate them more after the Shaun Alexander days and simply from becoming a fan of the NFL rather than a fan of the Giants.  What it comes down to is that the Seahawks are the only Seattle team I can root for now.

Flashforward back to present time, I knew that I had to go to the victory parade yesterday.  It was an opportunity to celebrate the championship in a way I never could with none of the Giants' Super Bowl victories in this decade or in the 80s.  Against my better judgement, I woke up at 6 AM to carpool with a friend, and we found ourselves curbside at Third and Washington at 8 AM.  People were everywhere despite the 26 degree early morning, and everyone seemed very excited. 

Impromptu Sea-Hawks chants erupted for no reasons, and the bane of my existence that day, besides the cold weather, were the annoying horns wise people were selling for $5 in blue or green.  It was truly a horrible noise -- like a yeti in heat dying.  Still, everyone was dressed up in their jerseys and carrying their flags and other Seahawks memorabilia.  The streets were packed, and people were on the balconies and buildings, looking down upon the celebrations. 

To be honest, I've never really perhaps been the most vocal of fans in any sports.  Sure, I'll shout out my frustration or shout a "Yes!" accompanied by clapping, but I don't really want to chant, do a lot of high fives or scream.  Perhaps it's the outside observer part of me that wants to take everything in -- put things in context, but I'm more likely to watch than to participate actively in the revelry of others. 

So even when the hour late parade started -- apparently the players got stuck in traffic considering 700,000 people were trying to find parking and jam themselves into the two mile parade route -- and after really five hours of waiting, the parade finally rolled up on our section of the route, I found myself smiling a lot, but not screaming, cheering or chanting "Seahawks" like everyone around me.  I was happy as each Duck or Humvee rolled up with players waving and celebrating, but perhaps I was not quite as ecstatic as everyone else.

Soon after, the parade ended, and people either began to follow them to Century Link/Safeco Field or filing out of the city.  I felt proud and happy, but there was no tears of joy or elation on my behalf, and I wondered if that was a problem.  However, later than night, it finally dawned on me what was happening. 

For a big part of my life, I was kind of a transplant because of all the moving I've done.  It has made me feel sometimes like an outsider because I don't have those life long friends that other people I know seem to have.  My history with people seemed a bit abbreviated because of that, but now, after twenty years of living in Seattle, this is the place I've lived the longest.  It shames me to think of all the trepidation I had when I found out we were moving from Orlando to Seattle.  I knew that there were a lot of Asians here, and living in predominately white Orlando, I grew to hate the fact that I was Chinese and to hate all other Asian people as foreigners.  I wanted to be white, and I was coming to place -- a church -- where they were a lot of Asians.  And that scared me.

But this is the place God wanted me to be -- to come to the church I attend now and have the friends and family that I have.  This Super Bowl is the cap on that realization.  Things might have seemed more exciting when the Giants won the Super Bowl, but the reason why this championship is more important to me is because this is my home.  This is my city, and I was celebrating my home town team's championship with the people I care about in a way that I will never have with the Giants or the Magic.  It's okay that I'm not overflowing with emotion for this Super Bowl because, instead, there's a contentment in the victory.  I'm home, and there's no other place I'd rather be.


A Super Bowl Blog Not About Sports: The Objectification of Women

We all know what Richard Sherman did on January 19th with the amazing play to get the Seahawks into the Super Bowl and the now infamous rant.  Twitter exploded, and thus began the backlash and the backlash to the backlash of Sherman's words.  The media hoped that he was going to carry that enthusiasm to Media Day this week, but he was on his best behavior.

One of the most curious questions, though, that was posed to him was about the stereotypical link between football players and strippers, perhaps best personified in the incident regarding one certain Pacman Jones

“As far as money is concerned, all of you football guys has gone into the strip clubs and are raining [money] down on the strippers. I think that’s a bad example for our young ladies. How can we stop that. I think it’s a bad example that we setting for our young girls that they need to be strippers. How do we deal with that issue?”

It was an entirely unfair question, to be sure.  To lump Sherman in with "you football guys" simply because he's a football player or perhaps because of the color of his skin and/or corn rows(even though we do not know the ethnicity of the questioner) is prejudice, to be sure.  Sherman's answer was very gracious and well thought out on the fly, and I certainly commend him for that. 

However, regardless of the fairness of the question pointed at Sherman, I think it still points out something that is an interesting phenomena tangentially related to sports -- the objectification of women and the abuses thereof. 

The first, and greatest, issue that is obviously linked to football is the Super Bowl and sex trafficking.  By no real fault of the NFL, the potential for abuse in such a large gathering increases greatly as the sinful desires of sinful people on "vacation" yearn to be scratched.  It seems to me that a lot of advocacy groups have been doing a great job of making the issue more aware in the public, but obviously there's always room for improvement as long as one person is being taken of advantage in this way.  I don't have too much to add to this that hasn't already been said, but it never hurts to pray for the mortality of this country and world.  The sooner we can eliminate sex trafficking, the better we'll be. 

Another issue which might surprise you that I'm bringing up is cheerleaders.  I don't know what your stance is on the relevance of cheerleaders in sports, but it's a big thing.  You just need to go to any sports team's website, and you can see just how much the cheerleaders are promoted.  In fact, it's a big business between all the appearances, calenders and other such ways that sports teams use cheerleaders and their image.  The only problem is that the cheerleaders don't get a significant cut of that pie.  Just recently a lawsuit by a Raiderette hit the news cycle, prompting other cheerleaders to speak out against this problem.  Gregg Easterbrook, a columnist that I respect for his thoughtfulness although I don't not always agree with him, had this to say about cheerleaders.  (Search for cheesecake calendar.)

Much like the issue of the universities making hand over hands amount of money on their student-athletes, it seems extremely unfair to me that the teams make so much on their cheerleaders and not give them a fair share of it.  Instead, the conversation always comes down to -- the student-athletes are being compensated by their scholarships, or cheerleading is a hobby; they get it back with the national exposure they get.  I certainly believe in capitalism, but there's limits to how much we should be haggling one another.  If cheerleaders should not be allowed in sports because of the objectification, then fine, get rid of them.  But if it continues, they should still be able to be fairly compensated for their efforts. 

Obviously the latter issue is not quite as dire as the former because cheerleaders are going into a situation eyes wide open, but there certainly should be a better way we can act as a society by treating women better than we do.  Let's bring this all full circle with Sherman's response to the unfair question.

“Well, I’ve never gone into a strip club and thrown money, so I couldn’t tell you. I guess trying to understand that there are other avenues, there are other ways you can make money, that women can do anything they want in this world. You can go out there and be a CEO of a company. Like I said before, the same can be said for kids in the inner city — the ceiling is limitless and don’t limit yourself to those possibilities and those circumstances.”

Absolutely we should be encouraging women to not give into the expectations of society that looks are paramount, and that they are a thing to be objectified by men.  Let's all have open discourse about this age old problem and be better people for it ... for the betterment of our society and for the glory of God.


P.S. - Go Hawks!

Midseason Review for the New Shows in 2013

My apologies for the extended break in blogging, but we are back in 2014 and hopefully better than ever.  I thought I'd revisit my blog last year on the top 5 new shows I was excited for.  As well, I mentioned before that I tend to gravitate towards the critically acclaimed and low rated shows, so I'm adding an indicator of what I think the chances are that the show is renewed for next year.  You can find the previous blog here.

5. Enlisted - Well, this show got pushed and pushed from September until this January, so the episode run has only been three so far.  Despite the limited exposure so far, it's been a lot of fun and actually has something different to say about the military than your usual shows about war.  I'm interested in seeing how the rest of the season unfolds, but for right now, it's mostly on potential.  Unfortunately my grade is incomplete for the moment.

Chances for renewal - 25%  Fox put Enlisted on Fridays which is usually a graveyard where TV shows go to die.  The only good news is that they moved the time slot from 9:30 to 9, so there's some hope that the show could catch on even though the ratings aren't good right now.

4. Trophy Wife - This show makes me happy, and out of all of the new comedies this year, I'd probably say this one has made me laugh out loud the most.  Everyone in the cast has been very good, and I don't hate the kids...something that tends to happen with either the kid actors or the way the showrunners use the kids.  I cannot recommend Trophy Wife anymore than I can right now.  Watch it -- catch up and join my glee. 

Chances for renewal - 50%  Unfortunately, the ratings for the show haven't been great, but the good news is that in general, all of the new ABC shows have been pretty bad overall, so there's a chance that it's a bit better than all the other low rated things currently airing on ABC.  Still, I'll start making my "Save Trophy Wife" signs with glue sticks and glitter pretty soon here.

3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine - So far, this has been a very solid show with a very well rounded cast of supporting characters around Andy Samberg's main character.  It's more of a work place comedy than a cop comedy, and it's done very well as a spiritual successor to say The Office.  Terry Crews has been everything advertised and never fails to impress me with his funnies every week.  A good, well-polished show.

Chances for renewal - 100%  The show's ratings have been decent, but with Andy Samberg's Golden Globe win for the show, there's absolutely no chance Fox doesn't renew this show next year. 

2.  Almost Human - Of all the odd couple/buddy cop shows I've seen, I've enjoyed Karl Urban and Michael Ealy's performance and cop/robot cop the most.  Their chemistry together has been very good, and the future technology they show off in the show have impressed me with their creativity with just a little CG.  The only issues the show needs to address is the lack of depth in the female characters on the show.  You can do better, guys.

Chances for renewal - 75%  It's performing adequately in the ratings, and I see a good chance it gets renewed.  They've put a lot of promotion in for this show, so it seems like Fox is invested in seeing it succeed.

1.  Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D - Now we come to the elephant in the room.  I've liked SHIELD, but it's been a bit disappointing.  Perhaps a lot of it early on was the "case of the week that no one really cares about," but it's felt very disjointed.  Fortunately since the December break, it's gotten more serialized and much more interesting, so I have hope that like Buffy, the showrunners are getting a feel for the show and rounding into shape by the end of the season or next season.  The degree of difficulty is high because there are so many masters to please -- ABC, Marvel Studios, Joss Whedon, etc etc, but I have faith that they will pull through.  Plus, I'm still in love with Chloe Benett for totes. 

Chances for renewal - 80%  Although the ratings have not been as perhaps expected off the heels of the success of Avengers, they've still been pretty good, and ABC has a lot riding on this intellectual property, so I imagine it will at least get another year at the very least.

Surprise Show of the Fall - Sleepy Hallow --  Man, I thought this show was going to be a hot mess.  Ichabod Crane is a time-displaced Revolutionary soldier here in present times fighting to prevent the Apocalypse?  Somehow, the show found a way to be fun, not take itself too seriously and just make the plot bonkers.  The chemistry between the two leads (not romantic at this time) has been superb, and Crane's interaction with modern technology has been very amusing as he is taught to text and fist bump.  Plus he rails on fast food and social media.  Fantastic.



EPC: In Dreams

In another installment of Emo Poetry Corner, I'd like to indirectly touch on the holidays.  Namely how much it stinks being single during the holidays.  I'm sure at one point or another you've had to smile politely as a relative asks you how come you don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend.  I know you've appreciated the Christmas cards/photos letting you know how your friends and family's family has been doing for the past year but secretly rolled your eyes in bitterness.  (Oh wait, is that just me?)  The bottom line is that it's hard being single around the holidays.  You're alone, and everything reminds you of that fact. 

Well, I'd like to let you know that there's hope!  No matter how bummed out you get, I truly believe that love will find a way .... eventually.  In celebration of that fact, here's a poem I wrote in 2008 inspired by the thought of dreaming of the One and looking expectantly in the future that indeed, sunnier days are on the way.

In Dreams


I dreamt again last night.

A beautiful dream it seemed.

You were there, front and center,

One I know not and know wholly.

My heart swelled in your presence,

You're the once, I'm convinced.

I have no facts or evidence

Save what my every fiber shouts.


Nameless one, become reality.

Grace me with your insight.

Compel me to write of what I lack,

Courage to love and hope.

Now I know what to name you.

You're my soul's muse.

Everything I cannot grasp,

Everything I'm afraid to lose.


And as I awake from my sleep

The details of you ebb away.

I jot down all I recall,

Hoping memories of you stay.

Specter of my desire,

You must linger longer.

There's so much to ask you,

So much you must reveal to me.


Nameless one, become reality.

Grace me with your insight.

Compel me to write of what I lack,

Courage to love and hope.

Now I know what to name you.

You're my soul's muse.

Everything I cannot grasp,

Everything I'm afraid to lose.


I know what you coming will mean.

Somehow you can wave into being

All the things I can be --

Everything I aspire, desire.

These things you understand,

Give voice to what I can't explain.

Hope will part the threat of rain;

Sunnier days are on the way.


Nameless one, become reality.

Grace me with your insight.

Compel me to write of what I lack,

Courage to love and hope.

Now I know what to name you.

You're my soul's muse.

Everything I cannot grasp,

Everything I'm afraid to lose.


Pride Comes Before the Fall (or at least the rope burn)

As I mentioned before Thanksgiving, I was busy last week trying to obtain skin cancer in the lovely Caribbean on a cruise.  Not too much exciting to report except for one anecdote I will now share with you.  (BTW, skin cancer achieved!)

I was on the Norwegian Epic, and one of the unique things about that ship is that they have studios for solo travelers, of which I was one.  In the studio section of the deck, there is a nice, cozy lounge for people to hang out and meet people if they so desire.  A gathering area of sorts.  Personally, I used the lounge for the comfortable seating and electrical socket to plug in my laptop since it wasn't quite comfortable enough to use my laptop on my bed.  It became a nightly ritual that I would be down there on my laptop playing Civilization V and somewhat eavesdropping on other people's conversations because that's what socially awkward people like me do.  Indeed, a lot of people would comment, "Oh here you are again."  Go ahead and shake your head if you want, but this wasn't exactly the love boat -- the majority of the solo travelers were older people and a bunch of dues for the most part.  I'd be friendly when I could, but for the most part, I kept to myself .... until she showed up.

Now, I don't know too many details about her other than she was cute and dressed very nicely, but one late morning before lunch, I was in the lounge on my laptop again.  She was with another lady and commented that here I was again.  I smiled and said, "That I am, but not for very long."  She then mentioned that she and her friend were going to be at the rock climbing wall at two o'clock, and that I should get out of the lounge and join them.  I, again, smiled and said, "Maybe I will."  They left, and I joined my family for lunch. 

At this point, you can imagine the thoughts running through my head -- idealistic scenarios and expectations of what might and might not be, and I decided that indeed, I would go to the rock climbing wall at 2 to see what came of this.  So I arrived at the destination fully prepared with the requisite equipment of shirt, dry swimming shorts and socks.  As I stood in line watching other people attempt the wall and smirked when I realized that the spotter was giving the rope a little tug to help people when they got to problem situations on the wall. Alas, she was nowhere to be found.  Perhaps a little disappointed, I decided I would do the rock climbing wall anyways, and here's where the pride kicks in.

For your information and amusement, here is the aforementioned rock wall.  In my great hubris, I thought I'd do the left side of the overhang which is the hardest route on the wall.  Not only is there an overhang, but the hand holds are far fewer and between.  Nevertheless, I thought to myself, "I work out.  I should be able to do this with great ease."  So then, I tallied forth and attacked the challenge with gusto.  I approached the first overhang quickly enough and after getting my hands on the first holds above the overhang, At this point, usually people would try to scramble their feet or legs to a hold to help get up the wall, but I thought I could just lift myself with just my arms since.....you know, I work out and all.  The miscalculation on my part was that my reach was not long enough to pull up with one arm and grab the next hold before gravity intervened.  Filled with shame, I swung away from the wall, suspended by the rope, and the spotter let me down to the ground.

"Do you want to go again?" the spotter asked, and eager for redemption, I agreed to go again.  Earnestly I got to the overhang again, but again I tried to pull myself with my upper body strength only.  And again, I failed to grab the next hold before gravity taunted me.  With a double portion of shame, I swung away from the wall, but from all the exertion, I was quite winded.  I had to give up after that, and the spotter tried to be encouraging and said I probably could have made it if I had gone slower.  More salt in the wound.  Later on, I realized I got this lovely mark from my prideful attempt to conquer the climbing wall.  It is indeed my mark of shame for trying to impress a hypothetical girl who wasn't even there.  Later that night I bumped into her in the lounge and asked if she was able to make it to the rock climbing wall.  She mentioned casually that the opportunity did not present itself, and then she headed off to her room to retire for the night without too much more conversation.  That, my friends, is how you make yourself feel sad.  Public service announcement, boys and girls.  Pride will make you feel stupid and foolish.  Don't do it.


Why Should I Be Thankful When I'm Not Happy?

Sorry for not posting last week, but I was at my much-publicized Vienna Teng concert and didn't have time to write a blog last week.  How was the concert, you might or might not ask?  It was great, but if you'd like to know or not know more, you can certainly ask me. 

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought I'd put in a word or two about that.  Now, I'm sure you've heard all the great Thanksgiving platitudes about what people are thankful for.  Of course, these things are important, but dark-emo me doesn't really feel that needs to be expressed here.  That sentiment has been well-worn.  Instead, dark-emo me has the conversation pillow and would like to say something.

So the question is -- why should I be thankful when I'm not happy?  By all accounts, this year is a smashing success.  For the past fifteen years or so, my church has been searching for a facility, and through a lot of near-misses and false hopes, it was an answer to prayer that back in February, we moved into the current church we now inhabit.  And it is ours.  After working on and off for more than ten years, I finally finished my first novel, The Rose's Thorn, and that truly seems like a miracle.  I'm even 10-2 in my money league for fantasy football.  You could call this a banner year for me.

And yet I'm not happy.

Now there's a good chance that I'll never be happy in my lifetime, and I kinda wear it proudly as a badge sometimes.  Pain and suffering is what leads to good art.  The best writers and artists are the most broken people, and they are able to beautifully express that in their art.  I think too much and talk myself out and into too many situations.

Obviously, there are circumstances that drive that unhappiness ... that cause me to miss the forest for the trees.  A lot of it, honestly, is my own expectations for my book and the sales.  I know what the right answers are:  "You can't expect much for the lack of marketing you've put into it."  "All of this is going to take time -- Rome wasn't built in a day."  These are the things I tell myself, but lately they haven't been very effective in getting the message across.  So much of it is my expectations in the Cinderella-style outcome of what would happen when I published my book five months ago and in the response I thought I'd get from my friends.  But that disappointment is on me.  It's me that has the unfair ideal of what I thought would happen, and I understand that.  But it doesn't make it sting less.

Even at the Vienna Teng concert last week, I found myself with a strange feeling I've never felt before.  I've always gone to concerts by myself and absolutely love it.  You get to have that experience without always having to worry about pleasing someone else you are with or making sure that they are having a good time.  You can watch everything as an outside observer.  But this time, I thought to myself, "I would be nice to share this moment with someone."  Not necessarily a romantic potential someone ... but someone with the same interests as I do.  And I don't like that I felt that way. 

And romantically?  Well, whatever. 

So this is what it is.  The darkness mixed with the frustration and the helplessness.  So how do you be thankful with that lethal concoction running through your mind?  How do you obey 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which tells us to "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances."?  I don't promise I have all the answers, but here's what I'm going to try to do.

1. When in doubt, remember who you are.  As I mentioned before, we tend to miss the forest for the trees because we are too focused on the small picture when there's a big picture out there.  As believers, God's made a promise to us, but so often we fail to remember that promise or mistrust the timing of His plan.  I've tried to always comfort myself with the story of Abraham who was promised a son when he was 75 but did not begat Isaac until he was 116.  Abraham fully believed God, and yet there was a time that he got antsy and made a mess by agreeing to make an heir with Hagar outside God's timeline.  Yet in Hebrews, it's fully credited to him as being faithful.  Unfortunately, patience is a virtue fire tested by time, and that's what we need.  Patience. 

2. Remember what He's done already.  Like I mentioned before, this was a banner year full of success, and yet it's so easy to concentrate on the more recent negatives than the further, more bright positives.  So many good things have happened, but I'm in the dumps.  It ought not to be that way.  Our lives and the Bible are full of stories that tell us of God's faithfulness.  Don't forget.

3. Pray continually.  I know I struggle with this one, especially when it comes to my own requests because of my pride.  How often do we ask for God's help?  How often are we putting ourselves in dependence on our plan instead of His plan.  Praying is supposed to change our attitude, so get to it.

What else is there to say at this point, but Happy Thanksgiving.  I'm not happy but working on contentment.  But I am thankful.  God's done so much for me, and I need to constantly remind myself of that.  No blog next week as I'll be away from the Internet, but don't spend too much money on Black Friday. 


Last Attempt to Get You to See Vienna With Me: Part IV

So Vienna's coming to Seattle next Wednesday, and I'd love for you to join me.  This is my last attempt to convince you to come with me.  You can buy tickets here.  So here we go.  Last week was a bit of a downer, so today we'll do a double dose of happier songs.

St. Stephen's Cross

This is actually my favorite song of hers.  Vienna's said this was her attempt of making a soundtrack.  It's a love song of sorts, but Vienna being Vienna adds layers to the song that make it more interesting than a usual love song.  It's a reunion of two lovers separated by a wall not too different from a Berlin Wall when it's coming down.  It's exultant and full of excitement.  In respect to this great event that's happening, the boy and girl have their own solo experience as well as together in the end, and it's very much the happy ending you expect from this sort of story.  Along with the choral vocals, it's the perfect song to me.

Level Up

So let me end with this encouraging song about stop living vicariously and just start just living.  I know it's a lesson I'm constantly needing to be reminded of.  Stop overthinking (right) and go for it.  So that's what I want you to do.  Stop thinking and just get your tickets to see Vienna with me!  Next week we'll be back to our regular programming.


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